Manu Minute: The pesky red-vented bulbul
Curious about that black-crested bird you've seen flitting around your Oʻahu neighborhood? That's probably a red-vented bulbul.
These medium-sized birds were introduced to Oʻahu in the 1950s, likely due to a cage release.
Since then, they've bul-bul-bullied their way across the whole island, often chasing smaller birds out of their territories.
Red-vented bulbuls rank 78th on International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of the 100 worst invasive species worldwide. They clock in just above the American bullfrog and the black rat (also known as Rattus rattus, if you're feeling fancy).
Bulbuls' bad reputation is largely due to their sweet tooth. They'll eat guava, lychee, mango, papaya, and other fruits with abandon, resulting in significant losses for agricultural producers. They especially like orchid buds. The Oʻahu orchid industry reports annual losses of up to $300,000 due to bulbuls.
For now, the bulbul population is contained to Oʻahu, but there have been sporadic sightings on Maui and Hawaiʻi Island in the past few years. Check with your local invasive species committee about how to report a bulbul sighting on a neighbor island.
Audio credit: Robert Shallenberger, Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML6001)